‘Tis The Season: 25 Holiday Sightings, Winter Wonders and Festive Celebrations

1. Winter Lights Festival

Nov. 25-Dec. 31, Sunday-Thursday: 6-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 6-10 p.m.

Seneca State Park

1950 Clopper Rd., Gaithersburg, MD

Winter Lights features more than 350 illuminated vignettes and 65 animated displays in a 3.5 mile drive through beautiful Seneca Creek State Park. Themed areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, the North Pole and much more.

2. Manassas Christmas Parade

Dec. 3, 10 a.m.

Old Town Manassas, VA

Come see amazing floats, local celebrities, live performances, marching bands, equestrians, animated characters, giant balloons and Santa!

3. Village at Leesburg International TUBACHRISTMAS Concert

Dec. 11, 2-3 p.m.

Village Market Blvd. SE and Balch Dr. SE, Leesburg, VA

Experience an international holiday tradition when tuba players gather at the Village at Leesburg to play the sounds of the season!

4. Christmas at Mount Vernon

Nov. 25, 2016-Jan. 6, 2017, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon, VA

Visit George Washington’s estate during the Christmas season and see sparkling holiday decorations, tour the Mansion and watch historic chocolate-making demonstrations.

5. Gaylord National’s ICE!

Through Jan. 1, 2017

Marriott Gaylord National Harbor

201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD

Enjoy a winter wonderland created from 5,000 BLOCKS of ice hand-sculpted by international artisans. The attraction is fully interactive, allowing guests to roam inside, around and on-top of holiday scenes. The theme for 2016 is Christmas Around the World.

6. A Canadian Brass Christmas

Dec. 17, 8 p.m., visit cfa.gmu.edu for ticket information

George Mason Center for the Arts

4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA

The world’s best-known brass ensemble returns to the Center with their lively Christmas concert to ring in the season with holiday classics and brass standards.

7. The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Dec. 1

(check www.thenationaltree.org for events and times)

The White House Ellipse

Nationally known entertainers and a military band perform and the President brings a message of peace to the nation and the world. Events and live entertainment continue at the National Christmas Tree throughout the holiday season.

8. Discovery Theater’s Seasons of Light

Nov. 30-Dec. 15

Ripley Center, Smithsonian & Rasmuson Theater,

American Indian Museum

This seasonal favorite at the Smithsonian’s children’s theater celebrates the warmth of many holidays filled with light. Learn the

history and customs of Devali, Ramadan, Sankta Lucia, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Christmas and the First Nations tradition of the Winter Solstice.

9. Bethesda’s Annual Winter Wonderland

Dec. 3, 1-4 p.m.

Veterans Park, Woodmont and Norfolk Ave., Bethesda, MD

Blocks of ice will be transformed into wintery works of art before your eyes during the live ice sculpting presentation followed by choral performances from local school groups. Santa Claus will make a visit to the park that afternoon, and holiday treats will be provided for children.

10. Middleburg Hunt & Christmas Parade

Dec. 2, 11 a.m. (Hunt); 2 p.m. (Parade)

Main Street, Middleburg, VA

One hundred horses, their riders in red coats and dozens of hounds take to the streets of Middleburg for this annual event. The parade features a unique assortment of floats, marching bands, local community groups, Santa, antique fire trucks and a variety of animals.

11. Frederick Festival of Lights

Dec. 16, 7 p.m.

City Hall Courtyard, Downtown Frederick, MD

Holiday greetings, carols and an inspirational message are all part of this event, which highlights the true meaning of the holiday season. Attendees join in the program with a moving candle lighting ceremony, filling the courtyard with magnificent light.

12. McLean Winterfest Parade

Dec. 4, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Downtown McLean, VA – along Chain Bridge Road from Fleetwood Rd. to Elm St.

Let the kids come see Santa ride through the WinterFest parade on the McLean Volunteer Fire Department’s antique fire engine. Pre-

parade entertainment begins at 2:45 p.m., and the parade starts at 3:30 p.m. in downtown McLean on Chain Bridge Road.

13. Kwanzaa Celebration 2016

Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 18 at 4p.m.

Coyaba Dance Theater, 3225 8th St. NE, Washington, D.C.

Welcome the holiday season with Dance Place’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration! Gather family and friends to watch and celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

14. Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend

Dec. 2-3, 11 a.m.

The Campagna Center, Alexandria, VA

Come to Old Town Alexandria to watch (and hear) hundreds of Scottish clansmen with their bagpipes at the Annual Scottish Walk Parade. The weekend also features tours of historic homes and a Christmas Marketplace and Café.

15. National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony

Dec. 24, 4 p.m.

The White House Ellipse

(at the NW end, near Constitution Ave.)

Festivities at the lighting ceremony include musical performances, hot latkes and donuts. This year’s celebration will feature the United States Army Band. The menorah will be lit each night of Hanukkah.

16. The Christmas Revels

Dec. 7-15 (check www.revelsdc.org for show times)

Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University

The annual show’s theme this year is “Echoes of Thrace” — Music, Dance and Drama of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

17. The Water Skiing Santa

Dec. 24, 1 p.m.

Old Town Alexandria, VA (prime viewing along the waterfront between King and Oronoco Sts to include Founders Park and the Alexandria City Marina)

One of the most exciting events of the season is back – The Water Skiing Santa! The annual event features a water-skiing Santa, flying elves, the Jet-skiing Grinch and Frosty the Snowman performing sing-alongs on the Potomac River.

18. Chanukah on Ice!

Dec. 21, 6-8 p.m.

Pentagon Row Ice Rink

1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington, VA

Event is hosted by Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington. Tickets online for $10 per person and includes skate rental. Features free raffle, and the lighting of a six foot Menorah. Enjoy hot latkes, kosher hot dogs and other refreshments as well!

19. Chanukah Festival

Dec. 25, 5 p.m.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel

901 N Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA

Experience the festival of lights with the lighting of a giant menorah, lively music, hot potato latkes, chocolate gelt and dreidels.

20. ZooLights

Through Jan.1, 2017 (closed Dec. 24&25), 5-9 p.m.

National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music!

21. Bull Run Festival of Lights

Through Jan. 8, 2017

Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA

Enjoy this 2.5 mile drive illuminated by holiday light displays. Turn out your headlights and just follow the magical glow. After viewing the lights, bring your family and friends to the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments and of course, photos with Santa Claus.

22. The Nutcracker Puppet Show

Nov. 25-Dec. 30

(check www.thepuppetco.org for show times)

The Puppet Co. Playhouse, Glen Echo Park

7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD

A Washington tradition for 28 years, “The Nutcracker” is the story of Clara-Marie’s favorite toy, and their adventures together in the Land of the Sugarplum Fairy. Music from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet blends with marionettes and costume characters to create this unique production.

23. Holiday Sing-A-Long

Dec. 3, 4 p.m.

Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Rd., Vienna, VA

Wolf Trap’s Holiday Sing-A-Long is an annual musical celebration hosting a performance by the United States Marine Band and a Sing-A-Long of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choir and vocal groups from the area. Bring along a candle to join the tradition of exiting the Filene Center with a candlelight processional during the last verse of “Silent Night.”

24. Home Sweet Home Gingerbread Workshops

Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m., Dec. 4, 1-3 p.m.

National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW, Washington, D.C.

Get in the holiday spirit and construct a gingerbread house at the National Building Museum.Participants will learn how to use gingerbread walls and royal icing to build a house. We’ll provide the supplies and treats to make your gingerbread home as sweet as can be.

25. Holly TrolleyFest

Dec. 3&4, 10&11 and 17&18, noon-5 p.m.

National Capital Trolley Museum, 1313 Bonifant Rd. Colesville, MD

If your child loves trains, then they will surely love getting in the holiday spirit at the Holly TrolleyFest! Guests get to celebrate the season with toy trains and Santa aboard the streetcars all afternoon. 

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